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Please help us to raise awareness; MY CITY.

I HAVE facial palsy - which is a paralysis, usually, of one side of the face, although in some cases it can affect both.

It's a weakness of the facial muscles and results can be temporary or permanent, depending on what damage has occurred to the nerve.

There are said to be more than 50 different causes of facial paralysis, and the most common paralysis is known as Bell's palsy. The hardest thing for facial palsy sufferers is having to face people every day knowing someone will stare or ask what's wrong with your face - the emotional side can cause depression and anxiety.

That's why it's very important to raise awareness. You can be diagnosed at any age, and campaigners like myself don't believe there are enough funded investigations for treatments or cures. I am hoping people will sign and share a petition which has been set up by Karen Johnson, deputy chief executive officer of the charity Facial Palsy UK. The petition - "Encourage greater awareness of the impact of facial palsy in the UK" - can be found at petition.parliament.uk/ petitions/242864. The deadline is September 1 and we need to get to 10,000 signatures in order for the Government to respond. A lot of people have not heard of facial palsy, but we all have a one in 60 chance of being diagnosed.

There are support groups around the country, and I co-run the Liverpool group with physiotherapist Helen Martin. It is based at the Brain Charity, on Norton Street, and we meet every two months. Anyone affected by a facial palsy is welcome to come along.

Our group was a runner-up in last year's ECHO Awards, which really helped us raise awareness about facial palsy.

SHEILA FAIRCLOUGH FACIAL PALSY UK

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2019
Words:294
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